Legislative and Regulatory Update
April 2019 by Scott Harn
• Bishop and Curtis seek to rein in Antiquities Act abuses
Congressmen Rob Bishop (R-UT) and John Curtis (R-UT) introduced HR 1664, a bill that would set limits on the use of the Antiquities Act to create national monuments.
The bill would require review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a proposed monument between 640 acres and 10,000 acres. An environmental assessment would also be required for proposed monuments between 5,000 and 10,000 acres. Congressional approval would be required for larger proposed monuments.
It’s unclear whether this bill has the necessary support to pass in the House.
• Lands bill signed by President Trump
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) made a valiant attempt to stop S 47, a huge public lands bill that included permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), but his effort ultimately failed and the bill passed.
Senator Lee had introduced an amendment to remove the permanent funding, but both Democrats and Republicans joined forces to shoot down his amendment. The reason we—and miners in general—were against the bill is because LWCF funds are used to place additional public lands off-limits regardless of whether or not a mineral survey has been completed.
Senator Lee is all too familar with federal land grabs in Utah; he fought to have the size of national monuments reduced in his state when former President Obama used the Antiquities Act to expand them against the wishes of local legislators.
President Trump really did not have a choice but to sign it after it passed with a veto-proof majority. The bill passed the Senate 92-8, with the following Senators voting against it: Cruz (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Johnson (R-WI), Landford (R-OK), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Sasse (R-NE), Toomey (R-PA). A House version passed 363-62.
There are some miners who are under the impression that an organized Mining District will immediately get the regulatory agencies off their backs so they can start digging or dredging again.
• Forest Service to revisit 228 regulations
• WOTUS Executive Order suspended
Modoc County, California, is the latest county to use emergency powers to declare a state of emergency in order to take control of roads and trails away from federal agencies.
On October 19, 2015, the Waldo and Galice Mining Districts (of SW Oregon), along with several Oregon mining organizations and individuals, filed a Complaint in the United States District Court in Medford…
Casperson said he is not worried about businesses subverting the language in the bill because the DEQ would still have the authority to halt the new construction if it is deemed environmentally unsound.
Judge Ochoa went so far as to call the California permit scheme “unenforceable.”
More than 100 gold prospectors gathered at Azusa Canyon in the recently declared San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in southern California to voice their concerns…
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